• Harry Arora

Harry Op-Ed: Lamont should re-evaluate coronavirus strategy every 2 weeks

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

Our state government has been timely and decisive in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. The governor, with bipartisan support, has issued a series of executive orders to close schools, promote social distancing and curtail non-essential activities. Our state did not waiver like New York City and wait to close schools and essential businesses. At the same time, we did not enact a lockdown and martial law, which was being advocated by some. At the state and municipal level, we acted firmly and appropriately. This head start should allow us to plan calmly and focus on next steps in fighting this crisis. Our policy needs to reflect that the solution to this crisis will come from science — better, faster tests and an effective cure. Containment measures should be temporary. School and business closings and other curtailments should be re-evaluated every two weeks. Our policy has to be based on science, data and risk management and not be based on fear. Our policy has to reflect confidence and faith that our scientists will deliver.

Containment and social distancing are short term strategies and are essential for a few weeks. Our residents have stepped up and are doing their part in this difficult process. As we go beyond the first 2-4 weeks, our containment strategy has to evolve. For example, at this stage we need to stop the inflow of spread from New York City. That can be done by quarantining and/or testing those who are coming into Connecticut from NYC. Our focus has to continue to be on availability of testing. We should also explore a plan which will limit containment and distancing for the demographic above 75. Data is unequivocal about the fact that the maximum impact of COVID-19 is on that demographic.

The primary resource to fight this crisis is science. It is not shutting down our schools, businesses and parks. Those are temporary measures. The solution to this crisis will come from finding a fast and effective test. It will come from drugs which will help cure those who get seriously sick so that the mortality rate is lowered. The solution will come from drugs which help mitigate the virus in those who are asymptomatic so that they cannot spread the virus. Our overall policy should be to fully support the scientific effort while working on refining the containment measures and helping those being economically impacted.

In a matter of two weeks, we have three treatment therapies which are in advanced trials. Within a few weeks our scientific community will rigorously test and then validate or reject these three treatments. If any of these cures are found effective, we can get back to normal life quickly. If not, we can be assured that there are others in the pipeline. Two of the current treatments being tested have shown promise. Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin are already being prescribed by many physicians all over the country. Remdesvir, another experimental drug, which is under trials but not yet approved, is being given for compassionate reasons, and yielding many positive stories of halting COVID-19. In Connecticut, we have some of the best medical research institutions and hospitals. We need to mandate our institutions to participate and support these trials. It will provide us valuable information and help find the cure.

These are difficult times. Leadership is about looking in the abyss but still keeping our confidence. We need to keep faith that our innovative scientific community will find a cure in in short period of time. I would recommend to our governor, please keep that faith, and make our containment decisions for two weeks at a time.

Harry Arora is a state representative in Greenwich’s 151st district

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